SARASOTA, Fla. - After losing their son to leukemia, a Sarasota family is honoring his life by bringing joy to other children. They raised nearly $5,000 and went on a shopping spree Friday night, buying toys and presents for kids in the hospital.
They know a simple toy can bring healing to those who need it.
Fischer Dunkum was known for his joy, his playful spirit and his big laugh.
"He was a rock star," said his mother, Katie Dunkum. "He never lost his joy. He was always so happy."
Like any kid, he loved toys, but to him, they meant so much more.
Fischer Dunkum passed away at 5-year-old from treatment complications while battling leukemia.
"He learned very quickly that if he could get through the shots, the pills, the chemo, that he could get a toy," Dunkum said.
At age 4, Fischer was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. During those long days at the hospital, toys kept his spirits up.
"Just to see his face light up, because he knew he had done something brave, and he got to be rewarded, as a mom, it was just so special," Dunkum said.
In June, at just 5 years old, Fischer died due to complications from treatment.
Fischer Dunkum would always get a new toy after he endured shots and treatments for leukemia.
Honoring the little boy's life and joy would mean bringing joy to others, so his family held a rummage sale raising nearly $5,000 to bless the kids at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
"I just hope that they feel that same sense of bravery, and they know that they're not alone," Dunkum said.
Friday night at the Target on Fruitville Road in Sarasota, Fischer's family and friends filled carts with Legos, games, dolls and stuffed animals. They also bought gas and grocery cards for patients' families.
Fischer Dunkum's family is honoring his memory by buying toys for pediatric patients.
They strolled the toy aisles with Fischer on their minds and his joy in their hearts. Each scan at checkout counted another moment when a kid will be able to forget about treatment and just be a kid.
"We understand this journey," Dunkum said. "So, we want to do whatever we can do to help alleviate some of that burden for other families."
All Children's Hospital is hosting a toy drive Saturday. That's where Fischer's family plans to bring all the toys they bought. If you'd like to donate as well, you can find more information on the event here.